Visual Art Apr 20, 2006 at 4:00 am

Or, How to Stop Worrying and Love the Factory


It has taken me more than two years to stumble upon this article. I'm slow and old.
Chihuly and P.T. Barnum have a lot in common and in more ways than one, primarily though, both peddle or peddled illusions.
If I had bought one of his pieces, only to discover later that he had not made it nor really taken part in the design process, I would be well pissed.
Chihuly sells elaborately promoted glass product, that is sold by insulting our eyes and overwhelming the senses through mass presentation which shows the cheapness and sloppiness of it all; it is whored and promoted by the corporate media of which he is part; but much like an eastern European car from the time of the "iron curtain", it is technically inept and stylistically decrepit. His "style" is his brand, but his style is no more than an agglomeration of others and shapes going back millennia, it is no more his than it is mine, so sad.
One would opine that for an artist to be defined by his corporation, is in fact anathema to being an artist.
Whilst his legal attacks upon the works of actual artists is akin to a paint manufacturer suing for the incorrect use of carmine red; groundless, shameless and seemingly only focused on corporate self preservation.
He is "art" to corporate elite no nothing pissants, those that perpetuate the funding of junk artists because of their branding and "reliability"; meaning no bloody thinking, no drama, no life, no inspiration, just product that costs a fortune and it's crap.
Don't get me started on that asshole Damien Hirst... it's enough that anyone should imply that Dale Chihuly is anymore an artist, he's not, he's obviously all business and for protecting tens of millions of dollars each year... artists with factories? it's bollocks.

Craft and authorship.

Hmm. As a musician, I have a slightly differenct slant. Not jumping to Chihuly's defense at all, but at the core of the philosophical argument is something that jumps out at me from a different angle. I consider, for example, works by Philip Glass, who frequently writes music for instruments he does not know how to play. All any composer does, really, is assemble a set of instructions in a very meticulous code that performers subsequently interpret in executing the work. Within that context, then, who is the artist, the person who created the instructions, or the people who executed them? I think it's something to contemplate.

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